Week after week Raw Talent gets asked by bands "How do we claim royalties if we get airplay?".
Most musicians have heard of PRS but what exactly is it and how does it all work? Well the Performing Rights Society along with its sister royalty collection body MCPS, collects millions on behalf of its members every year.
So loads more questions. Does it cost to join? Do these bodies make a profit out of it?
We grilled PRS whizz Catherine George who gave us the lowdown.
So what is PRS and MCPS?
The MCPS-PRS Alliance is home to the world's best music writers, composers and publishers. Formed in 1997 between two royalty collection societies (MCPS and PRS), it exists to collect and pay royalties to its members when their music is recorded and made available to the public (MCPS); and when their music is performed, broadcast or otherwise made publicly available (PRS).
Ten years since joining forces, the MCPS-PRS Alliance is one of the world’s most efficient combined rights collecting operations offering its members more money, more often, at less cost.
Where does MCPS collect its money from?
Money is generated (through licence fees) from the recording of our members’ music on many different formats, including CDs, DVDs, television, broadcast and online.
Where does PRS collect its money from?
Money is due for any public performance of music, whether live or recorded, that takes place outside the home and from radio and television broadcasts and online.
What do MCPS and PRS do with the money collected?
MCPS and PRS pay money collected to their writer, composer and music publisher members. Both organisations are ‘not for profit’ and only deduct a small admin/commission fee to cover operating costs
So what's the first step?
Firstly becomes a member, we offer two different categories of membership; writer membership and publisher membership.
Being a member of PRS means you're in great company - it's the home of the world's best music writers, composers and publishers.
PRS is owned and run by its members; the creators of music.
By joining PRS you will benefit from:
• Fast and efficient collection and payment of your UK and international royalties.
• The cheapest, most efficient society in Europe.
• Quarterly royalty payments on ALL revenue streams.
• Fully detailed and easily understood statements provide a greater level of information and cost data.
• Saying goodbye to sampling: more and more of your royalties are attributed to actual performances.
• Personal relationships and services tailored to your requirements.
• PRS Members Fund - a benevolent fund, helping members in times of need.
• Quarterly magazine to all members.
• Working with UK and EU governments to improve the rights of creators.
• Regular member workshops and networking sessions.
• At the forefront of licensing new platforms in Europe - online, podcasts, ringtones, mobile TV...
Then register your music….
Music is generally registered online though paper and other electronic formats are available on request. You are only required to register music which has been or is about to be recorded, broadcast or performed.
PRS benefits chart bands like The Padds
A Fastrack service is available for members whose music is currently gaining substantial royalties.
PRS royalties are divided between the writers and publishers in accordance with the publishing agreement. PRS will always credit the writer(s) with no less than 50% of the overall royalty.
If documentation does not exist specifying the division of the royalties, 50% will default to the writer and 50% to the publisher.
If a piece of music is registered that originates in an affiliated society, PRS will follow the instructions of that society in dividing the royalties between the interested parties.
MCPS pay 100% of the royalties to the publisher on publication of the music. If the music remains unpublished 100% of the royalties would be paid to the writer(s) with MCPS membership.
Please note that music does not need to be published before you can collect royalties. 100% of any performance income generated will go to the writer(s). If your music is recorded you should consider joining MCPS in order to receive mechanical royalties.
Let's re-cap are you a business, or a not-for-profit organisation?
We are a not-for-profit membership organization.
And what does a band need to do to join up?
Visit our website http://www.mcps-prs-alliance.co.uk/membership/Pages/membership.aspx and join online or call 020 7306 4805 or email email@example.com
If a band gets significant airplay, how does that information come back to you?
This depends on where and when the band is receiving airplay. We would recommend that bands have a look at our website or call 020 7306 4805 to find out more.
Do you sometimes have contact with bands trying to trace royalties from years back - what happens then? Our Pete Dixon's band Popchrist must have some airplay back in '97?
PRS tracks royalties up to three years back. (Sorry Pete!)
What about Europe and the rest of the world - is it worth bands trying for airplay there. Will they get royalties for airplay?
PRS has reciprocal contracts with over 70 territories around the world so whenever PRS repertoire is played the society in question will collect the royalty and send back to PRS so we can pass it back to our members.
Here is an article that may be of interest...